Worldshaker by Richard Harland
Publication Date: 18 May 2010
I purchased this book.
Col lives on the Upper Decks of the juggernaut Worldshaker, a mobile city as big as a mountain. He has been chosen as next Supreme Commander - but then a girl, Filthy, escapes from Below and appears in his cabin. "Don't let 'em take me!" she begs.
Will he hand her over, or will he break all the rules? Col's safe, elite world is about to fall apart as he learns the terrible truth about the nature of his society in this steampunk novel by Richard Harland.
I had not previously read any of Richard Harland's other books prior to picking up Worldshaker. I had no expectations beyond a great steampunk adventure and Worldshaker delivered. Harland has written an engaging young adult read that tackles important issues such as gender and class while building a fantasy world full of great characters.
Col, the Upper Deck privileged grandson of the Supreme Commander, has just been named as his grandfather's successor. When his grandfather gives him a tour of the juggernaut, Col sees for the first time the Filthies, the labor class living and working in the bottom decks of the ship. Later, when he encounters a Filthy girl named Riff, he realizes that everything he has been taught about the Filthies is not true, that they are just as human as he is and not the animals he was led to believe. By helping Riff, Col sets in motion a series of events that lead to him questioning his whole upbringing. In the end, Col has to decide which side to choose, helping the Filthies or returning to his Upper Deck life and assuming the mantle of Supreme Commander.
Harland has written a great steampunk novel with dystopian themes, and is a master world builder that leaves a reader wanting more. He skillfully sets the stage for future books involving the characters of Worldshaker. My only complaint is that though this book is considered young adult, the language, sentence structure and grammar are more suited to middle grade readers. Young adults, as well as adults who read in the young adult genre, may find the storyline too simplistic and may be frustrated with the naiveté of Col.
Overall, I enjoyed Worldshaker and am looking forward to seeing if Harland will develop this story into a series. I would love to read a second book from Riff's point of view in order to get more character development of her and the other Filthies.
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Book description and picture courtesy of Goodreads.
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